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  1. Default Road trip October 2017

    Hi

    This is my first post so please forgive me if it is a bit haphazard.

    My wife & I are planning to visit the United States in October 2017. We are from Australia and like many would-be tourists, we are planning a road trip. We will definitely be visiting NYC and San Fran but in the middle we would like to do a road trip to see some other places we might not normally plan to see.

    A rough plan so far was to start the road trip in Kansas City or St. Louis (we love barbeque!) and work our way down to Austin. I would say we have approximately 12 days in total.

    Can anyone provide us some advice on must see places along the way? The direct way there would involve KC --> OKC --> Fort Worth --> Austin but we'd be happy to detour if needed. Alternatively, are there other places in the South we should prioritise? The only real desire is to ensure we end in Austin as we want to spend a few days there. We'd love to catch a game of baseball or NFL along the way too. Also, are there any roads or cities in that direction that we should avoid due to safety?

    Thanks in advance for your advice!

    Cheers
    Ben

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,610

    Default A few questions and thoughts.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    A common theme you will find here at RTA is that there are no generic 'Must sees' as each trip is unique to those that are taking the journey. That's not to say we can't offer suggestions, but it would help to know your interests to narrow down the thousands of possibilities. It's also helpful to see the big picture rather than just a part of your thinking. How long are you in the States for in total and how much of that time do you wish to spend in New York and San Fran? How will you get from Austin to SF ?

    My first thought was, if you have 12 days to get to Austin then why start from Kansas or St Louis which are both under 2 days drive from Austin ? You could drive from NY with 3 overnight stops so with 12 days on the road you could see much more, perhaps the Smokey mountains, Nashville, Memphis and even New Orleans. That pace, or those places may not appeal and there are many more to choose from and that's why it's important to do a little research by looking around the forums and studying maps. The other thing to ask yourself is do you really want multiple flights and the extra costs of one way car rentals when (depending on time) it might be possible to drive across the country ?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,257

    Default This and That

    As Dave noted, the more information you can share about your trip (particularly any time and budget constraints) and about your interests and what you hope to accomplish on this trip, the better and more targeted the advice we can give. First let me elaborate on something that Dave mentioned. If you have 12 days to get from New York to Austin (and why is Austin a destination?) then rather than pay for the cost of a flight to StL or KC and then a one-way car rental, it might make more sense to do a loop RoadTrip out of New York and back to New York, return the car, fly to San Francisco, and depending on how much time you have available there do another loop RoadTrip through the Southwest (Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Pacific Coast Highway, etc., etc.) and back to San Francisco before flying home to Oz.

    I know that the above does not necessarily include barbecue in either StL or KC, but there is a great place just outside of Austin that would be a whole lot easier to get to. Even Nashville, which has lots of great barbecue, would be easier to include on a loop trip between New York and Austin than either Saint Louis or Kansas City. It's those kinds of suggestions that we can offer to make your trip more efficient and enjoyable once we have a better idea of what you're trying to do.

    AZBuck

  4. Default

    Thanks Dave and AZBuck for your replies.

    Regarding timing, I didn't want to drive across the country without stopping at places along the way. ie; I don't want to go on holiday just to drive all day! With 12 days for example, ideally I would like to stop at major cities along the way for at least 1-2 nights and we can just have short stops at smaller cities. Albeit it is possible I am being too conservative with what we can achieve in this amount of time.

    Austin is a destination because we have heard great things about the city. Your idea of looping back makes sense but I'm not sure I'd want to drive in and out of New York - maybe from a different location, for sure.

    As for interests, apart from good food and seeing some sporting events, we're pretty easy for this pat of the trip - we just want to see as parts of America we wouldn't normally see.

    Hypothetically if we started in either Kansas City or Austin in a loop fashion with 12 days, I'd love to hear what you would do given I'm sure you have plenty of experience driving across America! Any advice is greatly appreciated, thanks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,865

    Default Maps and more.

    To add to Dave's advice, doing a little research, posting your complete plan for your trip and studying some good maps. will as said, have you receive the best advice you can get. If good maps are not available locally - you don't say in which State you are - then I would highly recommend you order a Rand McNally road atlas from the RTA store, via the link at the bottom of this page. If you order it now, you will have it in a couple of weeks. That gives you 12 months to research places you may want to see and routes you may want to drive.

    Good maps have so much information including topography and attractions - historical, natural and touristy - along any given route, and also highlight scenic routes. By carefully planning you could get to see and experience so much of the US that most folk never bother to explore.

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,865

    Default Cities large and small.... and more

    You posted while I was typing. So what date do you actually fly in and out of the US? Do you already have your tickets?

    Quote Originally Posted by bennydaroo View Post
    ... ideally I would like to stop at major cities along the way for at least 1-2 nights and we can just have short stops at smaller cities. Albeit it is possible I am being too conservative with what we can achieve in this amount of time.
    Are you only interested in cities? All across the US there are some five dozen national parks including historical sites. Add to that the National monuments and the myriad of other significant places, there is a lot to see. It is not like at home where you drive and see only paddocks till you get to the next town. Those areas are few and far between. There are so many places to see in between cities and towns..... especially if you get off the interstates.

    ... but I'm not sure I'd want to drive in and out of New York - maybe from a different location, for sure.
    Driving in NYC is something I have never done. It is almost a handicap to have a car in NYC. Most folk would rent a car and start driving in Newark NJ, (or similar) where it is also much cheaper to rent cars.

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,257

    Default A General Idea

    As noted in my initial response, I think that a couple of loop trips would best meet your goals. To give you an idea of what you can accomplish, let's look at a possible eastern route between New York City and Austin. There is absolutely no reason to rent a car until you're ready to leave the city and start the RoadTrip portion of your holiday. Cars are a liability in New York City, a pain to drive, and both expensive and nearly impossible to park. Use public transport (taxis and subways) until you're ready to leave. And even then, check out other locations to rent from than the airport(s) which tack on expensive 'convenience' fees and taxes.

    Once you've got your car, though, head out of the city by the most direct route possible, such as I-78 or I-80 west. Saving visits to cities such as Philadelphia or Washington for the return portion of the loop, head inland a bit and use I-81 down the Great Valley as your primary route to the south and west. There are scenic parallel routes such as Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway that will take you through or near national parks such as Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains, and you can switch between them and the Interstates at will depending on your inclination at any given moment.

    Next you could take I-40 through Tennessee to Nashville (another great barbecue town and home to American Country Music. Nashville is also the northern terminus of another great scenic American road, the Natchez Trace Parkway to Natchez and then US-84/US-190 (and other such roads) to Austin. Now you could drive New York to Austin in about three days. Taking five or six days should allow you to take your time on some of the slightly slower routes listed above and stopping to visit along the way.

    Similarly, you can look at a return route that more closely follows the Gulf of Mexico and then follows (roughly) I-85/I-95 back up to the northeast with stops in Atlanta, Washington, and/of Philadelphia to visit any museums of interest, take in a football game or two (Note that baseball season is all but over in October) and just see completely different parts of the country. Again, five or six days for what could be driven in three or a little more would get you back to New York City where you'd return the car to the same place you got it from (saving hundreds of dollars) and hop a plane to the west coast where you'd repeat the process.

    If all that sounds like something that appeals to you, then we can certainly continue to offer suggestions to help fill in the details and also help you plan the western loop. Just let us know which suggestions strike your fancy and which don't.

    AZBuck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,865

    Default Following on from AZBuck......

    In October the drive through the Poconos should give you a great show of autumn leaves. Only yesterday I drove through there, and the leaves were just starting to change..... all along I-84, I-380, and I-80, and to some extend along I-81. Even though these are all interstates it is a beautiful part of the country driving through the mountains there. A little research will uncover attractions which will interest you..

    Should you follow Buck's advice to head to the gulf coast, and if you are at all interested in classic and muscle cars, you may like to consider Cruisin the Coast, on which I stumbled a few trips ago. It had me staying in the area longer than planned. It was an amazing event.

    Lifey

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